Sunday, 24 February 2013

Life and death

This is going to be an angry entry.  Angry in a passionate way.

It never ceases to amaze me how, when someone's died in a car crash where speed or other controllable variables were to blame (texting, drinking/drugs, hooning), their family and friends come out and say how amazing they were - how special/clever/funny/kind they were, how they would do anything for anyone in need, what a bright future they had etc.  But none of them ever say, "He/she died because they were being an idiot.  They were being a jerk and that's why they're dead."  Has anyone else ever noticed that?

In my line of work, I have lost count of the number of photos and stories I've read about these young people, and the utter pain and anguish of the loved ones left behind.  I can only begin to imagine what it's like for the emergency service personnel who have to scrape their bloody and mangled bodies off the road, or the hospital staff who work frantically and desperately trying to save them.  Only to lose them.  Because they were driving like a jerk.  Because they thought they were such a great driver they could take that corner at 80km/h.  Because they thought that because they'd been driving for more than two minutes that the laws of physics didn't apply to them.  That their car is so amazingly special that it can do things that the aforementioned laws of physics says will result in an explosion!

You are not special.  Your car is not special.  Your tyres are not special.  Your driving history is not going to save your ass if you drive like a jerk.

If you drive like an idiot, you deserve to hit a pole and write your car off.  And to God I pray that's the only thing you hit, and the only thing that happens.  Machines can be replaced.  People cannot.

Now, let me come at this from another angle.

When I was very newly pregnant, and coming up to the 13-week nuchal translucency scan, we had the option of having an amniocentesis in case they thought our baby might have Downs Syndrome.  I was all for it.  "Let's do the tests to see what's going on so we have all the information and can deal with whatever they find."  My husband was passionately against it.  "But why?" I asked.  "Because there's a chance that just having the test will cause a miscarriage."   "Ooooh.  Then hec no!"

I wanted to protect the little life growing inside me with all my worth.  I didn't want to do anything that may, even in a very small percentage, cause my baby harm.  I didn't care if the chance was 1 in 1000.  That was 1 in 1000 too many for me!

So why would you do anything in your life that would increase the risk of you dieing, or you killing someone else?  I'll bet when you're sitting in the ER watching the life drain from your friend, you would chose to do things differently.  

If the chance of you killing or permanently disabling your friend because you were speeding and showing off was 1 in 1000, would you take it?  Would you feel all tough and macho then?  Would all the boys think you were a "bad ass" then?

If there was a 1 in 1000 chance that your speeding would force your parents to plan your funeral, would you take it?

If there was a 1 in 1000 chance that you would leave your new bride/groom a widow because you took a corner too fast because you were deluded enough to think your "totally awesome, bitchin'" car would handle it, would you take it?  Is your life or their life worth taking a risk?

If anyone says yes, then you totally deserve what is inevitably coming your way.  I just hope someone in your circle of family and friends speaks up at your funeral and tells the world what a deluded idiot you were!

You are not special.  Your car is not special.  Your tyres are not special.  You are not, and will never be a great enough driver to defy the laws of physics.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

My external heart

My grandmother once said to my mum, when she became a mother herself, that having a child is like having your heart walking around on the outside.  From that point on, the most important part of you is outside you.

If I'm honest, which any of the regular readers will know is pretty much all the time, I can work myself into a state of anxious tears worrying about my sweet daughter, who I am convinced is the single most beautiful girl ever to have been born in the whole wide world.  Ever.

I worry about her future - will she be bullied at school?  Will she be good at school?  Will she find direction and purpose in life?  Will she have her heart broken?  Will she find love?  Will she be able to have children of her own?  How will I manage to keep my words and limbs in check if someone dares hurt her?  God knows I'm a fierce mumma bear sometimes, but I am also wise enough to know that I can't and won't fight all her battles.  But Lordy that's going to be hard!

I worry about her health - so many children get cancer these days before they've even had a chance to stuff themselves up with bad food and chemical-ridden products over the decades, will she be one of them?  Will I lose her before she has a chance to lose me to old age?

And when I think about having more children, I look at the state of the world - 7 BILLION people.  So many wars.  So many starving, while so many have bulging fridges and pantries and still throw away daily enough food to feed a second family.  And how can the world possibly keep producing enough food to feed all these people?  Chemicals are everywhere in our food because we can't produce it on a big enough, more reliable scale without them, yet I'm convinced they're what's making us so sick.  Food shouldn't have numbers in it!  Since when could you find a tree and pick MSG (621), and the literally thousands of other numbers in our everyday food?

Then I listen to my heart.  I want more children.  I want a big family.  I want to be pregnant again, to feel those kicks and nudges from the inside.  I want to breastfeed again and to hear those beautiful gurgling noises and have a little baby fall asleep curled in a ball on my chest.  Is that selfish when the world's in such a state and I'm not sure what kind of world they're going to have?  Perhaps one of my children will "save the world", but the cynical side of me (which is often around at this late hour of the night) thinks "Greed will always win".

"Hec, we don't need that rainforest!  What we need is to knock it all down to build more condos so I can buy a yacht and a fat gold watch and get the trophy wife a boob job!"  "Whales?  Who cares about the whales?  I wanna get my hands on all that oil trapped under the ocean so I can fill up my enormous SUV that I never take off-road or use to drive more than just myself... because I'm big, fat, rich and important, don't you know!"

What future are we leaving our children?  How can a little person make a difference when money is tight and your voice is small on a global scale?  Hec, it's even small on a local scale!  Shop local.  Buy from the farmer.  Read labels and don't buy what you don't understand.  Make your own cleaning products.  Use contraception if you don't want or aren't ready for children.  Consider adopting or letting another loving couple raise your child if you can't - God knows there are children in the world who are already here who need love; and every child deserves the best life possible.  And support other little voices, trying to do the best they can.

Rant over.  Thanks for listening.